Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 46: Glitter Rock

Sam Leaps Into: 
Jeffrey "Tonic" Mole, the lead singer in a rock band.

Avoid getting stabbed to death.


Detroit, Michigan

Memorable Quote:
We all live our lives behind masks, but the real point of living is to get beyond, to break through those masks, from the outside and from the inside, so that we can really communicate. Unfortunately most of us don't.  ~Sam

I like the whodunit element of the story, and I was not at all sure who the guilty party was.

Not a big fan of rock music post 1970 (more on this below).

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • The manager is played by Peter Noone, the lead singer of Herman's Hermits.  I listened to a lot of Oldies growing up (mostly thanks to my Dad having them on in the car), and Herman's Hermits was a great band with a lot of hits.
  • Sadly for me, the wheels fall off the rock music wagon once the 60's end.  Maybe it's growing up with Oldies, my perfect pitch, my old soul, my intrinsically good taste, or all of the above, but I find most modern rock music and its derivatives (e.g. alternative, punk, metal) to be unlistenable.  There are exceptions, for instance I think both U2 and Green Day have some very good songs.  But most of the time when I hear modern rock, all I hear are people yelling.  I remember in college having to watch Pink Floyd: The Wall and thinking it made no sense while also making my ears bleed, and another college memory involves me overhearing someone in my dorm talking about Kurt Cobain.  "What band was he in?" I asked.  "Nirvana?!" the guy responded incredulously at my lack of modern musical knowledge.  What can I say, I'll take Frank Sinatra over people yelling any day.  How's that for a hot take.
  • One last anecdote to wrap up my "music" tangent: I remember as a teenager often watching Jay Leno at night with my parents (taped from the previous night), and at the end of the show when we'd get to the musical act, 95% of the time we'd listen to the first few notes and then my Dad would take the remote control and fast forward.  He would sometimes add, "It sounds better when I accidentally step on Boo-Boo's tail" (Boo-Boo was our cat).
  • The falling light during the stage rehearsal brought back some Cleo Rocks memories.
  • 22:03 mark -- a brief shot of RFK Stadium, which is strange considering the stadium is in D.C. but the episode takes place in Detroit.  
  • This is immediately followed by a scene where Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter (one of Herman's Hermits greatest hits) is playing in the background as Sam and Noone converse. Nice touch.
  • I like the "Who's on First" routine with Sam and Al related to The Who, and it's also fun to see Al rocking along on stage with the band.
  • Shouldn't the webbed hands shared by Sam and Philip have been enough to convince everyone that they were related?

Peter Noone.

I went to the audition for the part of one of the group who were a Kiss “Knockoff."  I read the part and said to the genius Bellisario "Hey Sir. Can I be the murderer not the bloke in the band?" The director said "No one would believe you as a murderer!" And I said "How about it Sir Bob, isn’t the idea of a who done it to have the mystery be a mystery?" I enjoyed myself and I think I did ok as a murdering, cross dressing embezzler manager having had personal experience and someone to be a la stanislavsky!!!!  My best work so far and I have to say Scott B is brilliant!!!

Final Analysis:
Decent episode -- I like the mystery and also the Philip character.  Not as big a fan of the "rock" ambience however.  Ranking it 32 out of 46.


  1. *sigh* There's plenty of good music post-60's. Adam Ant was years ahead of his time, influenced by his predecessors and influencer to many who came after him. Most notably Nine Inch Nails - he even performed with them a couple of times.

    It's probably sacrilegious for me to say I'm not a big Kiss fan, but I'm not. I do listen to all kinds of music - though, I too, avoid the pointless screaming. But there's something about getting the right Smashing Pumpkins song playing when you are in an absolute shit mood... sometimes, it just works.

    I'm also a big fan of songwriters who can slap together really interesting lyrics. Sean Altman - who used to perform with Rockapella - is amazing at spinning lyrics that are clever and witty and beautiful. Rob Thomas is another who writes some amazing lyrics.

    You'll run into problems with a lot of the more modern popular music though b/c they autotune the hell out of it. But if you can find decent live / acoustic recordings, you may find things that are more to your tastes in the post-60's era. =)

    I remember seeing this episode first run - and I immediately thought of Kiss w/ all the make-up and 'glam rock' elements. And if Peter Noone was responsible for shifting the murderer to being the band manager - good on him, b/c it made for a good mystery.

    I remember watching VH-1 back in the days when the music video channels played videos and Noone was a host/VJ for a few things. I don't know if I saw him on VH-1 first or QL first - but I recognized him on one from the other.

    1. I'm not familiar with Adam Ant or Sean Altman, but I like Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20 -- they have a lot of good songs.

    2. This is Rockapella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VovbEtlQdwE

      It was hard to pick an Adam Ant song, but I chose "Prince Charming" -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p__WmyAE3g (he has an official channel on youtube where you can see more)

      Matchbox Twenty and Rob Thomas are amazing!

    3. Highlander, I'm not familiar with Adam Ant's music but whenever I see his name I think back to one of the first episodes of "The Equalizer" in October 1985 called "The Lock Box", when Ant chillingly played Francis DeGraumont, the runner of this sex slavery ring that kidnapped children. It was shockingly dark unlike anything I'd seen on network television at the time and would still be pushing the envelope if it aired now. Did you ever watch "The Equalizer" or know of the episode I'm referring to?

    4. I never watched "The Equalizer", but I had seen on imdb that Ant is in it. (He tried acting for a little while.) He was also in an episode of "Northern Exposure" - tho he played a rock musician, so it wasn't much of an 'acting' stretch for him there.

    5. I remember Rockapella from "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" -- that was a classic.

  2. There was nothing wrong with this episode but it was kind of a generic whodunit. I liked the revelation that the teenage would-be psycho was really Sam's son but didn't much care for the ending that the manager was the killed, dressed like a fan, electing to murder his meal ticket because of unpaid gambling debts? Killing the lead singer who was responsible for of all the incoming money was gonna help resolve those gambling debts how exactly???? Unlike you, I didn't mind the rock ambience as it gave the story and set a little atmosphere it needed to overcome the paint-by-numbers script. I'm confused about the timeline though as the look and sound of the KISS ripoff band seemed far more consistent with 1984 than 1974. I'm not sure when exactly KISS's heyday was but 1974 seems way too early.

    Peter Noone was a good catch both for casting of this episode and for your brief e-mail interview. Herman's Hermits performed at my county fair in 2002 and although I didn't attend, my mom said they were one of the best concerts my county fair had over the years, and that's from a very impressive lineup of dozens of country and classic rock acts dating back nearly 40 years. I sensed based on a few comments you had made in prior postings that you weren't big on rock music. I'm hit or miss with it but don't fully agree with your timeline. For me, 1990 would have been closer to a point of no return than 1970 as I found a decent amount of the rock from 70s and 80s to be engaging to some degree. Once it drifted to the grunge/punk/alternative/Nirvana-style though I was lost and never really came back. I wouldn't rate today's screaming rock stylings in the same category as most of the rock that emerged in the 20 years after 1970. And interestingly, some of the rock music that to this day makes my ears bleed the most are some of the would-be "legends" of the late 60s including Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Clearly I'm of the minority opinion but I think I'd rather listen to Marilyn Manson than Janis Joplin.

    1. I think I'll rate it between "Her Charm" and "A Little Miracle".

    2. My parents have seen Peter Noone and really enjoyed his performances as well. I didn't even realize it was him until after I watched the episode and was reading about the actors on IMDB (I knew Herman's Hermits but didn't recognize the name Peter Noone).